The world's movie capital is not Hollywood but Bollywood. Bollywood is
the nickname for the Indian film industry located in Bombay (now known
as Mumbai, though Mollywood hasn't quite caught on.)
Indians are in love with movies, even though most films follow a
similar format called masala (the word for a collection of spices).
Movies are three to four hours long (and include an intermission),
include dozens of songs and dances (featuring 100 or so choreographed
dancers), top stars, the story between the songs of boy meets girl
(without any kissing or sexual contact), lots of action (though no
bloodshed), and always - a happy ending.
Fourteen million Indians go to the movies on a daily basis (about 1.4%
of the population of 1 billion) and pay the equivalent to the average
Indian's day's wages (US $1-3) to see any of the over 800 films churned
out by Bollywood each year. That's more than double the number of
feature films produced in the United States.
Although American-made films have been edging into India, only the
blockbuster Titanic has ever made India's top five list. One hundred
and fifty U.S. films arrived in India in 1998. However, Indian films
have become somewhat of an international obsession.
Bollywood films are being shown in American and British theaters on a
more and more frequent basis. These theaters have become community foci
for the South Asian communities around the world. Though separated by a
vast distance from home, South Asians have found Bollywood films to be
a great way of staying in touch with their culture and their fellow
Since India is a country of sixteen official languages and a total of
twenty-four languages spoken by over a million people each, some
portions of the film industry are fragmented. While Mumbai (Bollywood)
leads India in film production, its specialty lies with Hindi movies.
Chennai (formerly Madras) produces films in Tamil and Kolkata (formerly
Calcutta) is the Bengali movie capital. Neighboring Pakistan's Lahore
calls itself Lollywood.
Bollywood's film production center is a government-owned studio
facility known as "Film City" in the northern suburbs of Mumbai.
Bollywood traces its start to 1911 when the first silent Indian feature
film was released by D.P. Phalke. The industry boomed and today there
are over 250 theaters in Mumbai alone.
The stars of Bollywood are very popular and highly paid, considering
the budget of the films. The lead star in a film often receives as much
as 40% of the US $2 million budget for the typical masala film. Stars
may be in such high demand that they're working on ten films at once.
Photographs of Bollywood stars grace shop windows and homes throughout
Providing three to four hours of escapism is the primary objective of
Bollywood and it's a recipe done well. Indian movies are becoming more
and more popular around the world so watch for them in theaters and
video stores near you.
* Alter, Stephen. Fantasies of a Bollywood Love-Thief: Inside the
World of Indian Moviemaking. (ISBN 0-15-603084-5)
* Ganti, Tejaswini. Bollywood, Routledge, New York and London,
* Jolly, Gurbir, Zenia Wadhwani, and Deborah Barretto, eds. Once
Upon a Time in Bollywood: The Global Swing in Hindi Cinema, TSAR
Publications. 2007. (ISBN: 978-1-89-4770-40-8)
* Joshi, Lalit Mohan. Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema. (ISBN
* Kabir, Nasreen Munni. Bollywood, Channel 4 Books, 2001.
* Mehta, Suketu. Maximum City, Knopf, 2004.
* Mishra, Vijay. Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire. (ISBN
* Pendakur, Manjunath. Indian Popular Cinema: Industry, Ideology,
and Consciousness. (ISBN 1-57273-500-5)
* Raheja, Dinesh and Kothari, Jitendra. Indian Cinema: The
Bollywood Saga. (ISBN 81-7436-285-1)
* Bernard 'Bollywood' Gibson. Passing the envelope, 1994.
* Rajadhyaksha, Ashish and Willemen, Paul. Encyclopedia of Indian
Cinema, Oxford University Press, revised and expanded, 1999.
Top Bollywood Actress
* Aarti Chhabria
* Aishwarya Rai
* Amisha Patel
* Amrita Arora
* Amrita Rao
* Amrita Singh
* Antra Mali
* Aruna Irani
* Asha Parekh
* Ayesha Julka
* Ayesha Takiya
* Babita Kapoor
* Bhumika Chawla
* Bipasha Basu
* Celina Jaitley
* Dimple Kapadia
* Divya Bharati
* Diya Mirza
* Esha Deol
* Gracy Singh
* Hema Malini
* Isha Koppikar
* Mallika Sherawat
* Priyanka Chopra
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